The Bookseller of Kabul PDF Ó The Bookseller Kindle

The Bookseller of Kabul ☆ The Bookseller of Kabul PDF / Epub ✩ Author Åsne Seierstad – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk In spring , following the fall of the Taliban, Asne Seierstad spent four months living with a bookseller and his family in KabulFor than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities be they communi In spring , following the fall of the Taliban, Asne Seierstad spent four months living with a bookseller and his family in KabulFor than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities be they communist or Taliban to supply books to the people of Kabul He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the The bookseller Kindle - communists, and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street He even resorted to hiding most of his stock almost ten thousand books in attics all over KabulBut while Khan is passionate in his love of books and his hatred of censorship, he also has strict views on family life and the role of women As an outsider, Asne Seierstad found herself in a unique position, able to move freely between the private, restricted sphere of the women including Khan s two wives and the freer, public lives of the menIt is an experience that Seierstad finds both fascinating and frustrating As she steps back from the page and allows the Khans to speak for themselves, we learn of proposals and marriages, hope and fear, crime and punishment The result is a genuinely gripping and moving portrait of a family, and a clear eyed assessment of a country struggling to free itself from history.


10 thoughts on “The Bookseller of Kabul

  1. Ariel Ariel says:

    I was irritated early on by the way this book was written I think it encompasses all my other grips about the book.Basically the situation is like this a woman journalist is in Kabul after 9 11 She meets this bookseller, lives with his family a few months with only 3 people in the family speaking English and then she writes a book about them First of all, having lived abroad and lived abroad with families, you can t know a family the way this author pretends to in that time We don t even kn I was irritated early on by the way this book was written I think it encompasses all my other grips about the book.Basically the situation is like this a woman journalist is in Kabul after 9 11 She meets this bookseller, lives with his family a few months with only 3 people in the family speaking English and then she writes a book about them First of all, having lived abroad and lived abroad with families, you can t know a family the way this author pretends to in that time We don t even know how she interacted with the family because she writes herself out of the book entirely She somehow thinks that she hasn t effected the family s life and that she can just describe them as if there is not some strange white woman sitting on the floor taking notes as they live their lives.The book is written with such heavy condescension that I wanted to throw up The moral I took away from the book is that life in Afghanistan sucks, especially if you are a woman, and it s all due to their stupid culture Warning, this is not what I think, this is what I think the author was telling me to think.The author says in the preface that she was inspired by this family But from how she wrote the book it seems she was disgusted I don t understand how she can write that way without even writing herself in, therefore allowing the follies of inter cultural miscommunication and misunderstanding play a part


  2. Prithvi Shams Prithvi Shams says:

    After finishing the book, I was quite surprised at the number of negative reviews here in Goodreads Maybe a huge culture shock is at play here Many in the West may be put off by the realization that the values that they take for granted may be totally unheard of in certain parts of the world There are certain cultures where children are nothing but tools for parents and as such, are actively denied education There are cultures where falling in love is a greater crime than sawing off a After finishing the book, I was quite surprised at the number of negative reviews here in Goodreads Maybe a huge culture shock is at play here Many in the West may be put off by the realization that the values that they take for granted may be totally unheard of in certain parts of the world There are certain cultures where children are nothing but tools for parents and as such, are actively denied education There are cultures where falling in love is a greater crime than sawing off a person s head I know for a fact that people in my culture have gotten used to murders and negligence of human rights, but if a couple were caught kissing in public, as it were the very fabric of society would be shred to smithereens There are societies where women are nothingthan baby making and house keeping machines, commodities which are to be sold off in the financial ritual of marriage Since I grew up in a culture not vastly different from the one portrayed in this book, I find it hard to dismiss this account as prejudiced hogwash That, and I also steer clear of any sort of cultural relativism I know for a fact that no one in the comparatively progressive world would want to be a woman in Afghan society after reading this book, evenso after living in the country for some time by himself herself The author may not have captured Afghan culture in its entirety and no where has she made that claim , but she has been anything but prejudiced.For me, the pathos in this book lies in the hopes and aspirations of the members of the Khan family living in a post Taliban Afghanistan The women want education and a job, the children want to play, young men and women of the country want to fall in love in spite of knowing the dire consequences, and Sultan Khan wants to contribute towards building a better and liberal Afghanistan, a country which he can boast of to the world This book draws a very humane picture of an obscure society, a picture that very often fails to filter through the coloured glasses of mainstream media


  3. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Bokhandleren i Kabul The Bookseller of Kabul, sne SeierstadThe Bookseller of Kabul is a non fiction book written by Norwegian journalist sne Seierstad, about a bookseller, Shah Muhammad Rais whose name was changed to Sultan Khan , and his family in Kabul, Afghanistan, published in Norwegian in 2002 and English in 2003 It takes a novelistic approach, focusing on characters and the daily issues that they face 2005 Bokhandleren i Kabul The Bookseller of Kabul, sne SeierstadThe Bookseller of Kabul is a non fiction book written by Norwegian journalist sne Seierstad, about a bookseller, Shah Muhammad Rais whose name was changed to Sultan Khan , and his family in Kabul, Afghanistan, published in Norwegian in 2002 and English in 2003 It takes a novelistic approach, focusing on characters and the daily issues that they face 2005 1384 328 21


  4. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    A very interesting, journalistic depiction of life in Afghanistan as told from inside the tent of a relatively well to do family, with particular attention to the experiences of females It is compelling reading, and should be mandatory for anyone who wants to know about life in Afghanistan It is not a good thing to be a female there.


  5. F F says:

    Loved


  6. Margitte Margitte says:

    Enter the world of the Norwegian journalist, sne Seierstad, who covers the aftermath of the Taliban on society in Afghanistan, and you get what you could expect, but still hope you re wrong a pseudo novelistic attempt at exposing the life of a country in turmoil vicious power struggles chaos.Coming from a liberal Norwegian society, and being a young journalist, it is expected that the book will be written from a pessimistic, typical journalistic point of view In fact, I struggled to get Enter the world of the Norwegian journalist, sne Seierstad, who covers the aftermath of the Taliban on society in Afghanistan, and you get what you could expect, but still hope you re wrong a pseudo novelistic attempt at exposing the life of a country in turmoil vicious power struggles chaos.Coming from a liberal Norwegian society, and being a young journalist, it is expected that the book will be written from a pessimistic, typical journalistic point of view In fact, I struggled to get into this novel for nothing in the book presented any characteristics expected of a novel There was no story line at all to begin with No plot, no highs and lows, no lyrical prose, no good or bad, no character building NOTHING But it was a best seller Ya well no fine It was obviously a best seller for reasons beyond my understanding, but as a novel, or well written one nope, sorry The question remains though WHY was it promoted and sold as a novel It is an expanded set of articles dare it be called essays which became long enough to fill up a book It wasn t a story It was a bundle of interviews with all the characters blanketed by a liberal, inexperienced viewpoint from observing filth, poverty, oppression, cruelty, and whatever adjectives or synonyms for it could be found in a journalist s vocabulary Neither the male, nor the female interviewees were good people, according to the interpretation of their family life by the author Bottom line the journalist was disgusted with the whole set up and pushed it down my throat with my consent After all, I wanted to finish the book, right In retrospect I amannoyed with myself for wasting valuable time and energy in allowing it to happen Compared toA Thousand Splendid Sunswritten by Khaled Hosseini, this was a memoir, an optimistic attempt by a writer to cross the bridge between being an investigative journalist to novelist and just not succeeding very well It is not a type of biography either, and not even remotely on par with a real novelist such as Hosseini, who wrote from within his own community to start off with.But okay, so it wasn t a novel, so let me at least credit the author for her effort It is an in depth look at the typical Afghan family experiencing and surviving different occupations of their country The fact that she stayed three months with Sultan, the book seller, and his extended family, allowed her insight into their lives that is not showered upon many westerners Although she is not present in the book, the situation is presented from her viewpoint It is splashed all over the book Her observations are detailed The book highlights the effect of suppression on human lives In this case, freedom of choice for the men, mostly,was taken away first by the Communists, then Mujahedeen and lastly the Taliban Women never had any freedom neither choice anyway The impact on the people is enormous as far as restructuring their lives is concerned And then 9 11 happened and the Americans came But if I really want to know what is happening now, I will have to consult the internet and the Al Jazeera news channel It will be an extension of this book An investigative journalistic report.I did endure until the last full stop So you wonder how the book ends Well, what do you expect It is always a matter of choice if you want to find out Expectations differ from person to person, after all I will respect your point of view no matter what I apologize for pushing my annoyance down your throat in case you have opted to read to this point


  7. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    Delivering pizzas in Germany is farlucrative than working as a flight engineer in Afghanistan p58 Seierstad, a Norwegian journalist, stayed as a guest of the bookseller of Kabul of the title shortly after the fall of the Taliban view spoiler It is odd really that the USA ended up raining bombs on the Taliban There s a common current between some political persuasions in the USA and the Taliban, both really dislike women having pre martial sex, both are strongly inspired by the Bible Delivering pizzas in Germany is farlucrative than working as a flight engineer in Afghanistan p58 Seierstad, a Norwegian journalist, stayed as a guest of the bookseller of Kabul of the title shortly after the fall of the Taliban view spoiler It is odd really that the USA ended up raining bombs on the Taliban There s a common current between some political persuasions in the USA and the Taliban, both really dislike women having pre martial sex, both are strongly inspired by the Bible and want to see religion at the heart of their national cultures, both believe in saying no to drugs, yet perhaps when it came down to it the Americans were just too jealous of the Taliban s free and easy gun culture But that s the nature of war, to make strange allies and stranger enemies hide spoiler Seierstad lived in his home with his extended family his mother, two wives, a sister, children of various ages The home was a flat in a Soviet built block in Kabul Running water and electricity were casualties of the on and off warfare going on since the 1970s.Seierstad calls the bookseller Sultan He was an ambitious and energetic man, or depending on your perspective simply an overbearing patriarch He had been to school, and had studied engineering at university, while there had fallen into the booktrade supplying his fellow students with textbooks During the time that Seierstad was his guest he had three bookshops doing a roaring trade in selling postcards to coalition soldiers, a confectionery concession in a lifeless hotel, and was bidding for the textbook contract for the whole of Afghanistan here he ended up loosing out to the University of Oxford The businesses were staffed by his sons, none of whom he sent to school.Sultan, his sister Leila, and his son Mansur were the only people in the household who spoke English Seierstad in her introduction admits that she didn t master Dari so there is a difference between this book and One Hundred and One Days There everything she describes she either saw herself or is related by other journalists she spoke to Here her presence is elusive in the text She tells us that she was present on certain occasions view spoiler the visit with Mansur to Mazar i Sharif, at the bathhouse, the visits to the central police station and the ministry of Education, the road trip with American journalist Bob and his interpreter to find Osama Bin Ladin view spoiler they don t hide spoiler hide spoiler in the introduction, for the rest we are in a grey zone of stories related and potentially misunderstood in translation between members of the family and Seierstad.Luckily for us, perhaps, some of the potential uncertainty is removed by a court case launched by Sultan second, and much younger wife, in 2010 against Seierstad The grounds of her complaint was not that Seierstad s account was inaccurate, but rather that she had unfairly shared her private thoughts and opinions with a wider public Eventually in 2013 a court decided that this was what journalists do.Anyroad, and I am sorry if this is a gross spoiler for you, Afghanistan, it turns out, was not a happy place view spoiler shockingly despite its lack of control over gun ownership and the near complete ability of people to resist central government hide spoiler.Leila has a plan to become an English teacher, to which end the responsible Minister is duly and appropriately bribed to sign the relevant paperwork unfortunately because the ministers spend large parts of the day signing the papers of people who have bribed their way in, their signatures become progressively less valuable p269 , so by the end of the book she hasn t managed to make it to the front of a classroom and get chalk on her fingers.A carpenter hired to build sloping bookshelves for one of the shops is repeatedly beaten for stealing some of those valuable postcards by his elderly father Eventually having confessed that he stole them for one of Sultan s rivals he gets a few years in prisonDon t forget, under the Taliban he would have had his hand cut off, the chief constable emphasises p226 the modern Afghan police, happily, is all about community policingOnce we surprised a couple in a car We, or rather the parents, forced them to marry, he says That was fair, don t you think After all, we re not the Talibanwe must try to avoid stoning people The Afghans have suffered enoughp228.Luckily for Seierstad she manages to travel in a car on separate occasions with Bob and Mansur view spoiler this is the journey to Mazar i Sharif when she sees the remains of Soviet tanks destroyed by Mujahadeen who had swarmed down the mountainside like goats hide spoiler without getting stopped by the police and obliged to marry Partly maybe because when with Bob they are in a region were homosexually is all the rage among the warlord s army, but I m anticipating myself with my comparisons with ancient Greece, let me make you wait until the next paragraph, here major jealous dramas develop around the young men many blood feuds have been fought over a young lover who divided his favours between two men On one occasion two commanders launched a tank battle in the bazaar in a feud over a young lover The result was several dozen killed p250.It was Leila in her burka pausing to hire an urchin to accompany her to the market as a chaperone that put me in mind of the well to do ladies of ancient Athens Seierstad says that the burka was only introduced in the 20th century to Kabul by one of the Kings of Afghanistan who decreed that the 200 women of his harem should each wear one when ever they left the palace to wander about town No one wanted to be seen as any less dignified and decent than one of the women of the King s harem and so the practice of wearing a small tent with a small grill to see out of trickled down from the uppermost social class over time to very lowest.The world of the burka, Seierstad tell us, is a smelly one, with restricted vision an added bonus No sooner have the women of the household The whole Khan family are on the plump side, certainly compared to Afghan standards The fat and the cooking oil they pour over their food are manifested on their bodies p163 , swabbed themselves down in the municipal bathhouse in it is back inside their old clothes The women are spotlessly clean under the burkas and the clothes, but the soft soap and the pink shampoo desperately fight against heavy odds The women s own smell is soon restored the burkas force it down over them p168 , as they walk along the dry and dusty streets.It is a closed and cautious country in which marriage negotiations are conducted by a man s nearest female relative except in cases of utmost need, and in which the brides family can be expected to say no on the first attempt merely as a matter of form anything else would be to sell short to this rich unknown suitor whom Sultan recommended so warmly It would not do to appear too keen But they knew Sultan would return Sonya was young and beautiful p13 One mustn t appear too eager after all History is a constant theme view spoiler not that Seierstad is herself a good example, early on writing that the British invaded India from the north via the Khyber Pass, no doubt they would have done if they could, however geography intervened to make that an impractical proposition hide spoiler , Leila declaring that she will not wear a burka again once the king has returned, the ignorance of the people of their own past, leaving us to wonder quite what can be rebuilt, it is aabsolute year zero than we can imagine Outside Kabul war continues in different forms, while within the coalition soldiers are a source of ready income A world in which a Matriarch orders her sons to smother her daughter for the sake of the families honour and in which Mansur s work colleague offers a beggar girl money for sex provided she has a wash first view spoiler witnessing this incident is the impetus for Mansur to visit Mazar i Sharif and get spiritually cleansed hide spoiler , a man must have a code it seems, however twisted Seierstad, although she is often humorous in tone view spoiler unless this is down to the translation hide spoiler , doesn t seem to have much enjoyed her time with the bookseller of Kabul Which is not surprising Living in a small flat with a large family, all traumatised in different ways by the experience of war and exile in Pakistan occasionally dreaming of the bright lights of Tehran while obliged to wear a burka when out on the streets is not an easy experience for an outsider The stories she tells are claustrophobic The social releases limited to quail fighting and watching buzkashi fights something rather like polo, except with a headless calf rather than a ball


  8. Gary Gary says:

    Asne Seirstadt writes an honest and candid account of her four months of life with an Afghan family, following the fall of the Taliban and the end of the reign of terror they subjected the Afghan people to.She spent these months with the family of Sultan Khan who for twenty years defied the tyranny of the Communists and then the Taliban by selling books on the black market because the tyrants did not allow books except those which subscribed to their narrow minded and sick ideas.Afghanistan was Asne Seirstadt writes an honest and candid account of her four months of life with an Afghan family, following the fall of the Taliban and the end of the reign of terror they subjected the Afghan people to.She spent these months with the family of Sultan Khan who for twenty years defied the tyranny of the Communists and then the Taliban by selling books on the black market because the tyrants did not allow books except those which subscribed to their narrow minded and sick ideas.Afghanistan was a great, progressive and vibrant country during the reign of King Zahir Shah who was overthrown by Mohammed Daoud Khan in 1973 after which followed 5 years of instability and then the sheer hell of Communist repression followed shortly thereafter by the Taliban s reign of terror.During the 70s already under dressed women risked being shot in the legs or having acid sprayed in their faces by the fundamentalists.After the civil war broke outandwomen had to cover up After the Taliban seized power all female faces disappeared from the streets of Kabul.My heart really hurts for these women and girls who suffered so under the Islamists and had to be hidden away and obey through fear.And I point an accusing finger at all those leftists who claim to believe in feminism but defend excesses Should women in these countries got less rights than what you people take for granted Even after the Taliban were overthrown women and girls feared going out alone or dressing as they pleased, because of the residue of terror that the Taliban had left behind.During the Taliban era one of the most hated buildings in Kabul was the Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Extermination of Sin Here women who had walked unescorted by a male relative, or who wore makeup under their burkas, and men who cut their beards, languished under torture and many died.Before that these had once bee the headquarters of the equally brutal Soviets.No wonder Leftists and Islamo Fascists love each other so much They both have the mania for cruelty and destruction and the death impulse.Asne Seirstadt witnessed the destruction and death left behind by the Taliban.The Taliban engaged in ethnic cleansing of the Tajiks and other minorities in northern Afghanistan, raising entire villages to the ground and poisoning water wells and blowing water pipes and dams vital for survival in these dry plains before they withdrew.Seirstadt masterfully covers the sights, sounds and smells of Afghanistan from the cramped life in people s houses where extended families lived together to the bazaars and the hamman , the massive communal bath, where thousands of women cleaned themselves and their children on certain days of the week.Seirstadt captures much of Afghanistan s history and life and culture in these pages.It is an excellent book for those who want to learn about this country


  9. Eileen Eileen says:

    I think I learnedfrom this one book than from any news story or other examination of Afghanistan You think, after reading the forward and the beginning of the book, that the bookseller will be a progressive man, but his love for his country s history and its literary heritage is his only redeeming quality and yet the very reason he is such a bastard toward his family Everything comes second to his passion In the wake of the Taliban s withdrawal we see them slowly try to regain their f I think I learnedfrom this one book than from any news story or other examination of Afghanistan You think, after reading the forward and the beginning of the book, that the bookseller will be a progressive man, but his love for his country s history and its literary heritage is his only redeeming quality and yet the very reason he is such a bastard toward his family Everything comes second to his passion In the wake of the Taliban s withdrawal we see them slowly try to regain their freedoms, but after years of outside oppression, the feeling has slowly sunk inward Sultan s sister is too repressed to speak up in her own defense His sons do not speak up against their father s wishes which prevent them from having a decent childhood as they slave away in his shops And his own wife, once a respected professor, must bow to the will of her firstborn who says he does not want to work, even though it is her only desire There are glimmers of hope along the way as fate does give the women, who become the true stars of this book a chance And there are some wiser people amongst the Khan family who have figured out what the country truly needs and that peace is dependent upon throwing off the desire for power that has caused so much war in the country Ironically, at one point in the book, a hotel guard in the worst territory in Afghanistan, observing one of Khan s family members helping an American journalist operate a satellite phone, the likes of which the hotel guard has never seen, says Do you know what our problem is We know everything about our weapons but we know nothing about how to use a telephone Lack of communication seems to be the greatest obstacle in the book and the one that holds the country back Hopefully that will soon change But in the meantime, if you really want to get a glimpse into true Afghan life, buy this book


  10. Miriam Miriam says:

    my issues with this book are basically ideological political in spite of an introduction justifying her decision to erase herself from the story, the author also says that she spent a significant period of her time in the household arguing with its male members presumably about gender politics and the subordinate status of the family s women i think including these disagreements would have made for a far stronger andcompelling story not to mentionhonest as it is, this is j my issues with this book are basically ideological political in spite of an introduction justifying her decision to erase herself from the story, the author also says that she spent a significant period of her time in the household arguing with its male members presumably about gender politics and the subordinate status of the family s women i think including these disagreements would have made for a far stronger andcompelling story not to mentionhonest as it is, this is just another piece of quasi anthropological boo hoo over the oppression of afghan women from an admitted cultural and linguistic outsider hey, how about letting said women speak for themselves for once


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